8 things that have become more expensive in South Africa in 2021 – including massive fuel price increases

Statistics South Africa has published its Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November 2021, with inflation increasing to 5.5% from 5% in October.

This is the eighth consecutive month where the annual increase is higher than the midpoint (4.5%) of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range. It is also the biggest annual increase since March 2017 when the rate was 6.1%.

The transport category continues to be the major factor behind inflation, recording an annual increase of 15% in November. This makes it the only major group in the inflation basket with an annual rate above the 6% upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range.

“Fuel prices increased by 7.1% between October and November, taking the annual rate to 34.5%. The price of inland 95-octane petrol was R19.54 per litre in November 2021 compared with R14.59 in November 2020,” StatsSA said.

“The diesel index increased by 35.1% over the same period. The average price of diesel was R18.75 per litre in November 2021 compared with R13.89 per litre in November 2020.”

The main contributors to the 5.5% annual inflation rate were food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing and utilities; transport; and miscellaneous goods and services. Some of the largest annual price increases (November 2020 vs November 2021) were recorded for the following goods and services:

  • Fuel prices: +35%
  • Oils and fats: +21%
  • Electricity and other fuels: +14%
  • Meat: +8.5%
  • Public transport: +8.3%
  • Wine: +7.2%
  • Restaurants: +5.9%
  • Insurance: +5%

Food inflation slowed in November

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages recorded an annual increase of 5.5% and a monthly rise of 0.1%. This annual increase is the lowest in nine months – since February 2021 when the rate was 5.2%, StatsSA said.

Some of the most notable changes in grocery prices include:

  • Bread and cereal products recorded above-average price increases of 0.5% between October and November.  White bread prices increased by 1.2% and brown bread by 1.4% in this period.
  • Meat inflation slowed for the third consecutive month, recording an annual rise of 8.5%, down from 10.7% recorded in August 2021.
  • Chicken and beef products registered the largest annual increases in November. Price increases were recorded for IQF chicken portions (up 13.7%), chicken giblets (up 7.7%), beef offal (up 14.6%) and beef mince (up 5.1%).
  • Oils and fats have been a notable factor behind higher food inflation over the past 12 months. The year-on-year increase of 21% in November 2021 is slightly up from the 20.9% recorded in October 2021.
  • ‘Other’ food, which includes condiments, spices and baby food, has seen a steady increase in its annual rate to reach 6.1% in November from a low of 1.5% in February this year. Specific products showing large annual increases are soup powder (7%), spices (7.4%), salt (9.8%), mayonnaise (13.7%) and vinegar (9.7%).

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8 things that have become more expensive in South Africa in 2021 – including massive fuel price increases